R8G Esports’ Maarten van Loozenoord may have qualified on the pole, but it took a dramatic last-lap move back into the lead for him to take the win in the first-ever Force Dynamics Dallara iRacing Grand Prix Championship round at Watkins Glen International on Thursday. van Loozenoord found his way around the Apex Racing Team duo of Peter Berryman and Yohann Harth in crunch time, with that duo locking up the final two spots on the podium behind him.
Watkins Glen marked the first of 10 rounds for the new series, iRacing’s first professional-level grand prix championship since 2018 and the first for the iRacing-exclusive Dallara iR-01. Rapidly developed by Dallara and iRacing in tandem over a six-month period in 2020, the car represents the marriage of modern grand prix aerodynamics and a back-to-basics racing approach without extensive driving aids.
The 46-lap season opener saw a number of fresh faces, with Berryman and Team Redline’s Marcus Jensen among the handful of drivers returning from three years ago and quickly picking up where they left off. In fact, Jensen led 11 laps towards the middle of the race, but a second dive down the pits proved not to be the right call to set him up for the victory. He would finish sixth after Sam Kuitert made his way around for fifth place in the closing laps.
Instead, it was Berryman, van Loozenoord, Harth, and Valentin Mandernach within a second of one another in the closing laps, with Berryman getting back into the lead with five laps to go and Harth following him around van Loozenoord into second a lap later. Undeterred, van Loozenoord would return the favor on each in the final two laps, making the winning move on the outside of the carousel—a testament to the unique mix of speed and grip provided by the iR-01.
Four drivers led laps in the season opener; van Loozenoord topped the group with 26, followed by Jensen, Berryman with seven, and Michele Costantini with two. Harth and Mandernach each jumped six spots from where they started to finish third and fourth, while outside front row starter Ben Fuller recovered from a jump start to finish in the top 10. 18 of the 26 starters finished on the lead lap, with many of those who failed to finish involved in an early incident.
Full results from Force Dynamics Dallara iRacing Grand Prix Championship action at Watkins Glen International were as follows:
|1||1||69||Maarten van Loozenoord||46||0.000||26||1:15.341||25|
|13||21||86||James J Pinsker||46||-25.868||0||1:15.638||3|
|14||16||9||Andreas J Henkel||46||-32.136||0||1:15.712||2|
|19||20||16||Peter Zuba||4||-42 L||0||1:15.942||0|
|20||7||9||Tamas Simon||4||-42 L||0||1:15.878||0|
|21||12||11||Przemyslaw Marek Lemanek||4||-42 L||0||1:15.663||0|
|22||22||21||Alejandro del Campo||4||-42 L||0||1:17.038||0|
|23||18||7||Gio Cortese||4||-42 L||0||1:15.854||0|
|24||26||25||José I. Soria||3||-43 L||0||1:15.762||0|
|25||25||5||Omar Baha||3||-43 L||0||1:17.381||0|
|26||11||94||Kane Halliburton||1||-45 L||0||0|
Force Dynamics Dallara iRacing Grand Prix Championship points through one round are as follows:
- Maarten van Loozenoord, 25
- Peter Berryman, 21
- Yohann Harth, 18
- Valentin Mandernach, 15
- Sam Kuitert, 12
- Marcus Jensen, 10
- Florian Lebigre, 9
- David Toth, 8
- Brian Lockwood, 7
- Ben Fuller, 6
The Force Dynamics Dallara iRacing Grand Prix Championship season continues next Wednesday at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Coverage begins at 3PM ET/19:00 GMT on iRacing.com/live and across iRacing social media channels. For more information on iRacing and for special offers, visit www.iRacing.com.
Images via Justin Melillo